Archive for August, 2012

Tip Jar

The other day I was waiting in line at my favorite local java-fix establishment and something caught my eye.  Instead of the now ubiquitous tip jar at the counter there was an exciting new challenge in front of me, Bach vs. Mozart! It was worth dropping in a dollar for the sheer brilliance.  The excited and smiling employee at the register indicated tip revenue was up over 50%! Imagine that.

Tip Jar Coin Change

Coin Change

iPhone vs. Droid, Redskins vs. Ravens, Ray Charles vs. Stevie Wonder, Lakers vs. Celtics, Tupac vs. Biggie, Steve Martin vs. Joan Rivers – it’s only limited by one’s imagination.  Come to find out, the art of Tip Jar enhancing even has its own website at Get Better Tips.

Has sameness regulated the normal and ordinary to barely noticeable at your business? What if someone broke the rules tried something different? Good ideas and a will to act are two required pieces.  Meld these with a strategy and you get change my friend, coin change that is.


Six degrees of rock cruise separation or the top five rock cruises

Johnny Bolin Facebook friended me the other day!  Johnny played drums for Mid-western hair metal band Dare Force when I saw them back in 1985 at The Patio in Sioux City Iowa. These days he is drumming for Black Oak Arkansas, which played in this year’s Tommy Bolin Tribute Music Festival alongside Ghost Ship, whose guitarist Rick Moore is the same long time friend from high school with whom I saw Dare Force.

Tommy Bolin

Cover of Tommy Bolin

When telling my sister Chris about this post, she told me she once happened to sit next to Johnny on a flight to L.A. Oddly enough, Chris was on a mission to deliver a guitar to her friend, wife of T.S.O.L. guitarist Ron Emory.  I digress, bear with me.

Separately, a recent Google search for guitarist Pat Travers revealed he is appearing on the Rock Legends II cruise.  Looking further into the details, the artist line up includes none-other than... yep, Black Oak Arkansas.

Now that got me wondering.  What other rock cruises are out there?  Below is my list of the top five rock cruises, followed with more six degrees of rock cruise separation.

Rank Photo Cruise Comments Featuring
Black Oak Arkansas
Cover of Black Oak Arkansas
Rock Legends II
  • Packed full of acts
  • On 10-Jan-13
  • Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Liberty of the Seas from Royal Caribbean
Foreigner, Paul Rodgers, Creedence Clearwater, Kansas, 38 Special, Marshal Tucker, Blue Oyster Cult and Black Oak Arkansas among others

311 Eighteen

311 Eighteen (Photo credit: EWatson92)

311 Caribbean Cruise 311
Kid Rock
Chillin' The Most
  • Yes, departs directly after the 311 Cruise!
  • On 6-Mar-13
  • Miami, FL
  • Norwegian Pearl from Norwegian Cruise Line
Kid Rock
Take Your Time (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Take Your Time (Lynyrd Skynyrd) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Simple Man Cruise
  • Possibly the original rock cruise now at ten years and counting.  Rumored to have ran out of beer and broken the Carnival Inspiration’s alcohol sales record in 2008.
  • On 27-Oct-12
  • Miami, FL
  • Norwegian Pearl (again!) from Norwegian Cruise Line
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Doobie Brothers

Shiprocked 2010

Shiprocked 2010 (Photo credit: Niki Barr Band Photos)

  • Ranks first for best rock cruise name and hardest rocking acts!
  • On 27-Nov-12
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Poesia of MSC Cruises
Godsmack, Sevendust, Filter, Fuel, P.O.D, KORN

Ok, so here it goes - our “six” (or more) degrees of rock cruise separation.

First we start with Kid Rock (Chilln’ The Most Cruise)

  • - Kid Rock performed the track “The School of Old” by Run-D.M.C.
  • - they created the track “Here We Go 2001” that was performed by Sugar Ray
  • - they created the track “Stay On” that was performed by Nick Hexum of 311 (311 Caribbean Cruise)
  • - that group’s fusion of reggae and rap-metal was created in Omaha, Nebraska
  • - that is just 90 miles south of drummer Johnny Bolin’s home town
  • - he is playing with Black Oak Arkansas
  • - they are playing on Rock Legends II Cruise with .38 Special
  • - who has member Larry Junstrom
  • - he was a member of Lynyrd Skynyrd (Simple Man Cruise)
  • - who has member Michael Cartellone
  • - he was a member of Damn Yankees
  • - who has member Ted Nugent
  • - he created the track “Cat Scratch Fever” which was performed by Godsmack (ShipRocked Cruise)

And so there you have it - the top five rock cruises and the six-or-so degrees of separation between them.  Assistance provided by 6 Degrees of Black Sabbath and All Music Guide.

Related articles 


More Chinese to Go on Caribbean Cruise? What The Emerging Middle Class in China Means to Global Cruise Industry

Flickr Chinese Dragon Year Statue

Flickr Chinese Dragon Year Statue (Photo credit:

Chinese grooms did not traditionally purchase diamond engagement rings for their prospective brides. It was only 20 years ago that diamonds begin to appear in engagement ceremonies among the Chinese elite. But smart marketing campaigns and the increasing purchasing power of China’s middle class have reshaped luxury spending over the last two decades. While the United States still leads the world in diamond demand they will eventually be replaced by China (not unlike the current Olympic medal count battle). Experts in the diamond industry put that timeframe in less than 10 years.

There is a strong analogy for the cruise industry.  Consider each cruise ship as a diamond, each seeking to discover new lucrative source markets to drive growth.

Most Chinese still think of cruise ships solely as a means of transportation and favor train and airplane. But as more and more Chinese open up to the idea that “a cruise ship is actually a floating five-star resort" (aka getting there is half the fun) their perceptions of cruising are also changing. "Cruise travel is becoming the new form of tourism favored by Chinese." Last year’s cruise statistics validate this claim (made during a cruise forum in northern China’s Tianjin): International cruise destinations from mainland China in 2011 increased by around 50% compared to 2010. This means the Chinese no longer just take river cruises on Yangtze, but are looking at more exotic and sunny destinations. A Mediterranean or Caribbean cruise is likely to arouse their fancy, if their recent exodus to Maldives and Guam are a leading indicator.

Global statistics show the bulk of cruise travelers come from North America followed in (far) second place by Europe, and then the rest of the world. Between 2008 and 2012, for example, North Americans outnumber Europeans by as much as 120%, and Europeans outnumber passengers from other countries by as much as 200%. But just as Cruise Market Watch brought to readers attention back in 2008, cruise line executives are looking east and the prospects are astonishing.

Even with conservative forecasts, the implications are far-reaching. In 2009, there were only 365,000 Chinese who went cruising (compared to 110,000 in 2008), a mere fraction of North America’s 12 million plus. But the world totals are likely to begin to skew in favor of the Chinese in coming decades if their luxury spending trends and evolving perception of cruise travel is any indication.

Forecasts on the high end have placed China’s outbound tourists to 300 million (all modes of travel).  This is roughly equivalent to an entire continent’s (North America or Western Europe) population.

Despite the glimmerings of economic recovery felt in leading source markets, the cruise industry as a whole will only see a relatively modest jump in cruise passengers in the next five years. Analysts predict that the economies of North America and Europe are likely to remain sluggish, and this translates to slower growth in consumer spending, especially on non-essential goods and services.

Looking at present statistics (20,135,000), the compound annual growth rate (just a little below 8%) will only result in about 28 million passengers in 2018, a mere 9.3% of China’s potential cruise passengers of 300 million.

The rough stone is ready to be cut into a faceted gem.  Cruise traffic going to China, which was only 750,000 in 2011, is also likely to increase. The Seatrade All Asia Cruise Convention descended on Shanghai in 2010 for the second time to open up Asia to international itineraries. China tops the list because of its touristic appeal: It has varied geography, a 4,000-thousand-year-old history, staggering archaeological discoveries and a huge population with immensely diverse regional customs and beliefs.

All these exciting developments mean one thing: China’s dragon is ready to breathe new fire into the cruise industry. All the cruise industry has to do is fan the flames.